To Save Green or Go Green, That is the Question for Pallet Buyers

An Irish celebration, the arrival of spring, money, or planet Earth. What do these have in common? Green, of course....

earth from outerspace

An Irish celebration, the arrival of spring, money, or planet Earth. What do these have in common? Green, of course. But, for buyers of pallets, it’s the last two that are on the minds of many.

In fact, according to a recent survey by Modern Material Handling, price is still the biggest factor involved in purchasing pallets. Yet, many buyers seeking to change up their pallet programs cite sustainable initiatives as the driving force.

Indeed, implementing eco-friendly business practices is more prevalent than ever. In many applications, however, the process requires higher up-front cost. Is this the case for pallets? Do buyers have to choose price over sustainability or going green over saving green?

The answer isn’t that simple. But, you can start by discussing all applications of your pallet program with your supplier. How your organization handles pallets matters greatly when it concerns price and sustainability. For example, transportation is an essential component in determining a pallet’s environmental impact. If transported by air freight, a lighter and less-expensive pallet may have an advantage over wood.  But, a lighter pallet is not as strong. And, even a small amount of product damage related to pallet performance could result in carbon emissions and supply chain costs far greater than the initial savings gained.

A stronger pallet, such as wood, may require less total product packaging for the items being shipped. Less packaging equates to less waste, which is a win for any sustainability initiative. And, it may also help the bottom line through cheaper unit loads.

buying green or saving green?

If you are considering wood pallets, weigh the pros and cons with your pallet provider. Wood stores carbon and it is renewable, biodegradable, reusable, and recyclable; but, it is also susceptible to mold and insect infestation as well as splintering and other damage.

So, while it may be possible for the pallets in your supply chain to help your organization save green and be green at the same time, the solution involves more than analyzing price and carbon footprint. In addition to pallet type and size, buyers need to consider handling, pallet tracking, and timely return. Ultimately, how a pallet is handled and managed throughout the supply chain makes a greater impact on the bottom line and the environment.

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